Tag Archives: spirit

Are You In the Game, or On the Sidelines?

Face Your Fears

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
– Dale Carnegie

Point to Ponder:
Are you an active participant in the game of your life or are you watching it from the sidelines?

Action Item:
Choose one of your fears and take action to defeat it.

About Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

Airline travel is 29 times safer than driving an automobile, and I’ve never had a bad experience; yet, I remain desperately afraid to fly. Every time I fly, I go through the same ritual: find my window seat; say a prayer; and fall asleep as quickly as possible (preferably before take-off). My routine prevents me from letting my imagination and fears run wild.

I have no idea why I have this fear. What I do know is that NOT flying is NOT an option. If I had let my fear of flying prevail, I never would have seen the Virgin Islands, Maui, the San Juan Islands, or gone to Lake Placid or a number of other places I have been lucky enough to visit. Fear could have prevented me from experiencing new things, from starting iGnite, and from meeting and working with you.

Having fear is normal. It is how we choose to let fear affect our lives that is most important. Does fear motivate or paralyze you? Do you give it power by talking about it instead of taking action? Or do you look it in the face, call it by name and then take action and conquer it?

Giving in to fear can become habitual. The more you allow fear to stop you from taking action, the more it will show up in your life and take control. Confront fear with courage and confidence. Taking courageous, confident actions can also be habit-forming. But these are good habits, allowing you to live a life full of new experiences. Use fear as a stepping stone to motivate you and get you going!

The question we need to ask ourselves daily regarding fear is one phrased so well by University of Texas Women’s Track Coach Bev Kearney, a woman who has overcome amazing physical challenges as a result of a horrific car accident. She asks:

Are you in the game or on the sideline?

How would you answer? Fear keeps us on the sidelines, while courage, confidence and action put us in the game. I know I choose to be in the game of living life! This week, choose a fear you have and take action to overcome it. I’d love to hear about your choice and help you succeed— email me!

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Life is a Team Effort

Team Effort

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”- Marianne Williamson

Point to Ponder:
Do your surroundings influence your pace and dictate your personality and behavior?
Action Item:
Life is a team effort, so connect, share, and ask for help.

About Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

After graduating from UT, I decided that Texas was too small. I wanted to experience the “real world,” so I moved to the BIG APPLE!

I was impressed by the fast pace and fascinated by the around-the-clock harmonious honking of horns and the lifestyle of my 11 million new friends. To avoid looking like a tourist, I copied their behavior, rushing through the city with confidence, head down, and avoiding eye contact with anyone. No one was interested in connecting with me. So I became disinterested in connecting with them.

But just as quickly as Manhattan had allured me, so had it come to irritate me. I wanted to make eye contact, to exchange a smile, or to just say hello. I wanted an apology from the man who came within inches of hitting me with his car while I was legally crossing the street. I felt my spirit become cold and jaded. I became less confident and less tolerant. I began to view my 11 million new friends as competition. And I eventually joined their choir and impatiently went about my business.

Then one cold, overcast and gloomy winter day after emerging from the subway station, it became clear: Texas wasn’t too small after all. In fact, it was just right. So I moved back!

Much of my New York City experience was a result of my immaturity and naivety. I wasn’t experienced, strong or courageous enough to “be me” back then (and I was broke). I’d like to think that moving there today would be very different. But when I do visit, I notice the same things: everyone is on a cell phone, listening to an iPod, or otherwise disconnected from the sounds and the people around them.

Now, as Austin is growing, I very often see the same behavior; that everyone is virtually connected to something, somewhere, but unconnected to those immediately around them. What irony that we live in a wonderfully virtually connected world, but are less connected with each other than ever?!?!

I’ll be the first to admit that there are many times when I don’t want to talk, make eye contact, or be connected to more than the Internet allows, but I also notice that too little real connection is addictive and dangerous. I can quickly become absorbed in my own world, unaffected by situations that should move my spirit, and begin to rush through life with little tolerance for others. But once I finally connect, share, ask for help, and become accountable to more than just myself, life becomes so much sweeter, pleasant, and fulfilling. And that gives others the confidence to connect share and shine their brightest light. Life is a team effort.

Regardless of your goals, life obstacles, or celebrations, I encourage you to go about each of them with a connected and team spirit, as this is the BEST way to joyfully get where you want to go and abundantly live life.

We Thought Nothing Of It: A Mother’s Day Tribute

Life doesn’t happen to us. It reveals our true spirit.
(Unknown)

About Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

During one of Amy’s recent yoga classes, she closed with this quote: “Life doesn’t happen to us. It reveals our true spirit.” I was instantly touched by the quote because it reminded me of my mom—the eternal optimist—who inspires me to write this journal.

My childhood in Riesel (a small farming community outside of Waco) was at times challenging. But being raised by an eternal optimist meant times rarely seemed grim. When I was in the first grade my mom divorced my dad. At the time, my father was an alcoholic. Thankfully, the day my mom moved me and my sister out was the same day my dad divinely quit drinking—cold turkey. He has been alcohol free ever since—another journal for another day.

It was too late to reconcile as mounds of damage had already been done. My mother was no longer in love with my father and knew she had to get me and my sister out of our negative environment so she moved us into an apartment in a nearby town. My sister and I were able to stay in the same school so life barely changed. If anything, life got better!! We thought nothing of it.

Everything seemed normal with the exception of our father not living with us. Within a year, my mom began dating and my dad became reacquainted with a college sweetheart. Dad married my stepmother, Brenda, and they’ve been married ever since. We became a very civil divorced family who attended the same church and even sat in the same pew together. Can you can imagine how strange this might have looked?!? We thought nothing of it.

It wasn’t too long before we moved back to Riesel. Our new home was old and with no central air or heat. The three of us shared one bedroom and changed our habits to suit the season. In the winter, Mom would get up extra early (4:30 a.m.) to light space heaters for us. And when the water heater ran out of butane, she’d boil huge pots of water on the stove for our baths. We thought nothing of it.

During the school year Mom always prepared and delivered our breakfast to us on the couch. There the three of us would eat, put on our makeup together and talk about EVERYTHING! Mom would iron our clothes for the day and see to it that our lunches were made. By 7:30 a.m., we all looked like a million bucks and headed out the door. We thought nothing of it.

I could go on and on with more stories about the eternal optimist, but what I love and appreciate the most about my mom is her spirit. She protected and nurtured us. Only later in life did my sister and I learn the truth about the hardships she endured.

The apartment she had moved us to was government subsidized housing. We thought nothing of it because there was no more fighting, and we found fun in climbing the stairs and meeting the new neighbors.

The clothes she gave us were mostly hand-me-downs or painstakingly handmade. We thought nothing of it because we loved going to Wal-mart to look for patterns and material so we could have a new Easter, Christmas, or banquet dresses. Mom even made my sister’s Jr. Prom dress which was ALL RED SEQUINS!!!

The times we ran out of butane were because she sometimes couldn’t pay the bill. We thought nothing of it because she boiled water on the stove for us. And the school cafeteria food was awful, but we thought nothing of it because Mom always made our lunches to spare us.

We were financially poor. But thanks to Mom’s faith and eternal optimistic spirit, we were spiritually rich. Throughout the many struggles she endured, we never saw her cry or heard her complain. She reinforced the importance of faith, family, health and humor. She stayed focused on making the best of every situation and after every game, event or activity we participated in, even if we lost by fifty points, she was always the first to greet us with her BIG smile and optimistic attitude. She always told us how great we did and never what we should or could have done to win.

Financially, life is better for us all now, but we wouldn’t trade our poor upbringing for any amount of money in the world. We are grateful and very often reminisce and laugh.

Difficult and challenging times are always inevitable in life. What’s critical and is the difference maker is our optimistic attitudes, as our spirit will most likely determine the outcome of our situations. Mom has proven this to me time and time again. But don’t just take my word for it; a 2008 Duke University study showed that cardiac patients who were pessimistic about their recovery we’re twice as likely to die early as those who were optimistic.

As you go about your week and even life, I encourage you to confront all situations with an optimistic spirit. The truth is that life is going to happen with some good and some bad mixed together. The question is: will you have an unshakable faith and spirit that radiates so brightly that you’ll flourish even through the most challenging situations? I’m optimistic you will!

Point To Ponder:
How do you typically react to situations that don’t go your way?

Action Item:
Confront all situations with an optimistic spirit. Have an unshakable faith and spirit that radiates so brightly that you’ll flourish even when the outlook appears grim.

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A Lesson From Sandy

Friendship

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
-Mother Teresa

As we all know, Hurricane Sandy blew through the east coast causing devastating damage to countless homes. Every night the national news continues to report on the people of New York and New Jersey whose houses are in ruins and are still without power. This of course is unimaginable and almost more than the human spirit can withstand; however, I have noticed a common thread amongst our neighbors in the East: they are sticking together like glue. Each time someone is interviewed they use words like “my friends” or “neighbors,” as they are having to rely heavily on one another to get through each day.

Mary Catherine Jarvis, a.k.a. “MC,” the free-spirited old soul and daughter of iGnite Member Anne Jarvis, lives in Manhattan and was without power for almost a week. MC shared what I think is remarkable perspective.

We are still without power and it is projected that power will not be restored until Saturday. So until then, we are candlelit. The one advantage to this whole thing is camaraderie: without cable, internet or cell service we have had to rely on good ol’ fashioned conversation to get us through. Each night people come over and we sit by candle light, drink room temp beverages, and talk and/or play board games. It has been fun, and tricky since you never really know when people are outside your apartment (no cell, no electricity to buzz people in).

It’s ironic to think that the city that never sleeps, slept, and I can only imagine how incredibly inconvenient and costly this tropical storm will prove to be. However, the gift of human touch, fellowship and companionship is where peace has been found.

As we enter the holiday months, I challenge and encourage both you and I to stay focused on people and the gift of camaraderie. Not only is it good for the soul, but  taking a break from technology is beneficial for reducing physical and mental stress too.

Check out this week’s video that showcases unique displays of camaraderie, proving that we are created to fulfill one anther’s needs which is something that technology will never accomplish.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Point To Ponder:
When you are with people, are you focused on them or are you distracted by technology?

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Action Item:
Take a break from technology and plug into people.

To your health,

Neissa

About Neissa

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JoAnn’s Journey to Confidence and Better Health

JoAnn Herness

“I’m not really focused on being skinny, just on being my best self.”
-JoAnn Herness

Point To Ponder:
Are you patient enough to give yourself the chance to be the best you you can be?
Action Item:
Love yourself and view health as a lifelong goal and one that allows you to be your best self.

About Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

Last week I received an email that not only blew me away but inspired me as well.  The email was from JoAnn Herness, a five year and predominantly 6:00 a.m. iGnite member (a.k.a. “Monarch) who was referred to iGnite by a very good friend of mine. However, by JoAnn’s first class my friend was no longer iGniting which meant that she knew no one. Obviously, this certainly didn’t intimidate or deter JoAnn from joining us because she’s been iGniting ever since!  In addition, JoAnn has always had a rigorous and busy work schedule that takes her in and out of town. What’s most impressive is despite her travel and having to leave her home by 5:40 a.m. on her iGnite days, she always shows up with a smile and upbeat spirit.

So, about the email…. JoAnn emailed to inform me that over the course of her five years in iGnite she has lost a total of fifty pounds! That’s right, 5-0 pounds and to use her words, “the very best part is that while I would like to lose another fifteen to twenty more pounds, I’m not really focused on being skinny, just on being my best self.”

My quick response to JoAnn’s tremendous goal is EUREKA, AMEN and HALLELUJAH! I am thrilled that JoAnn has lost her weight in a healthy, slow and steady fashion (the best way!), but knowing that her ultimate objective is to be her best self is the absolute BEST thing I could ever read. I admire this mindset because it’s the opposite of what our fast pace and instant gratification society tells us. For example, how many magazines do you see at the grocery store whose covers read “Lose 5 Pounds in Five Days”, “Get Skinny Now” or “Six Moves to a Sexier and Sculpted You”?  The skinny imagery and negative messaging is everywhere. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to believe that being skinny versus living a consistently healthy life is most important. Women come in every shape and size, and there is nothing more beautiful than a confident and healthy woman who truly loves herself and is comfortable in her own skin.

Thank you JoAnn for sharing your inspirational weight loss news, but more than that, thank you for showing us what patience, persistence and loving yourself looks like.

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Why We Share

“This life is for loving, sharing, learning, smiling, caring, forgiving, laughing, hugging, helping, dancing, wondering, healing, and even more loving.”   -Steve Maraboli

Point To Ponder:
Do you view your obstacles, successes, struggles and experiences as an opportunity to share and be a gift to others?

Action Item:
Continually share your life and gifts with others and view them as an act of service.

About Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

This weekend I had the fortunate opportunity to speak at a Christian women’s retreat called Soli Deo Gloria. It was a created and facilitated by a young woman named Jen Ferguson. Jen contacted me in February and shared her vision of the weekend, which was to highlight that life is an adventure and that sometimes God asks us to step out of our comfort zone and take risks so that we might grow and be challenged. She said plenty of other wonderful things about her plan, but outside of her first description I was not interested in additional information as her theme was right up my alley!

So, on Saturday, from 11:15 a.m to 12:15 p.m I spoke on the importance of honoring our temples. From regular exercise, eating a nutritious diet, the people we surround ourselves with and the information we read and listen to, all of these things pertain to honoring and keeping our temples healthy so we can live our best lives and ultimately be a gift to others. I also explained our iGnite philosophy and the blessings that occur from predominantly exercising outdoors and with positive, encouraging and fun women.

I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my opinions, however my favorite and most memorable moment was when questions began coming in, as having women share and open up about their experiences and struggles is like icing on the cake! Witnessing the bold and courageous act of standing up in front of others to comment, ask questions and express fears is very inspiring.

During this time, one of the women posed the following question, “What if I wasn’t feeling confident enough to exercise with a group and chose to exercise at home, alone?” I explained that exercise is very personal, and done in any fashion or environment is great; however, the bigger question is her lack of confidence and if not dealt with it will continue to show it’s ugly face and inhibit her from being her best and living her best life. Then, in the midst of our dialogue the topic of isolation arose and Jen eloquently interjected some of the most Biblical profound wisdom I’ve ever heard. She said, “Iron sharpens iron and we can sharpen one another, however when we’re in isolation we cannot be refined or strengthened. Therefore, when we share ourselves, our stories and our lives, not only do we have opportunity to sharpen someone else but we too will be sharpened in the process.”

I knew I would enjoy my speaking experience, however; I must admit that I was sharpened much more than I sharpened the women attending the retreat. Therefore, I encourage you to be iron for those around you, and guaranteed you will be sharpened in return.

Watch this week’s video and be sharpened!

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Take a Dip! Swimming 101 with Sha

iGnite Swimming Instructor Sha Klatt

iGnite Swimming Instructor Sha Klatt

Swimming is a fantastic mode of exercise, so why do so few of us choose it as our method of staying active? Here to demystify swimming for fitness is Sha Klatt, iGnite leader and swimming instructor. “Swimming does it all,” Sha says. “It gives you a full-body workout, increases your aerobic capacity and strength and builds long, lean muscles. With zero impact on your joints, it is perfect for all fitness levels.”

What do you need to get started? Sha gives the low-down on swim gear.

  1. An athletic swimsuit. “They tend to run small, so don’t be surprised if you’re wearing a bigger size than usual. It should feel snug, but comfortable.” 
  2. Goggles. “I personally love the Tyr Nest Pro, and petit women may prefer a junior size. Another great pair specifically made for a woman’s face is View, which are very popular among the iGnite swimmers.”
  3. Cap. “A silicon cap will keep the water out better and off of your hair, but stretchy knit caps are also comfortable.”
  4. Pool. “I love the outdoor & heated facilities at the J where iGnite swimming classes are held. I also encourage everyone to get out and experience the beauty of the individual pools around the city!”   In Austin? Find a pool near you. 

Don’t have any gear? Sha brings extra caps and goggles to all iGnite swimming classes. Lane Four Swim Shop in Austin also has a store-full of swimming equipment year-round.

You’re in the water, now what? As a starting point, Sha recommends trying this basic workout:

  • 10 minute warm-up: swim a variety of strokes slowly with long, stretched out strokes
  • 15 minutes on a kick board
  • 15 minutes with arms only
  • 15 minutes swimming faster, stronger and harder to build endurance and lung power
  • 10 minute warm down of slow, long streched-out strokes and nice, easy kicks

Meet Sha at the pool every Tuesday & Thursday!

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Having a Dream

Harvest moon

If you don’t have a dream how you gonna have a dream come true?     -South Pacific

Point To Ponder:
Do you have a dream and if so, do you believe in it?
Action Item:
Determine at least one dream and believe in it.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

Last Friday, I attended a style show in Waco benefiting the Hillcrest Hospital Auxiliary. My mom has managed the Auxiliary Department for years and the annual Surviving in Style luncheon and fashion show features models who are former patients and are healthy and happy as a result of the hospital’s care. In order to support my mom, my sister and I always take part in the festive event.

Unlike the many Hillcrest Style Shows that I’ve attended, this one was different as it honored three doctors and their wives. Each of the retired doctors practiced medicine at Hillcrest since the 1970’s and have been instrumental in caring for cancer patients. While the hospital’s cancer center has served thousands of patients, the three doctors always dreamt of having more. In fact, the dream of having a state of the art cancer center that would prevent Central Texas cancer patients from traveling out of town was coming true, and ground was just broken last week. Therefore, as each doctor was recognized, Dr. Haluska closed with our profound quote of the week.

Following the style show I inquired about the new cancer center and learned that it will not be complete for many years. And, because the three doctors are retired they will never have the opportunity to treat a cancer patient in the new center; however, their impact, legacy and dream will forever be felt by every patient, family member, doctor, nurse and associate.

The wisdom I did not expect to take away from the Style Show is that we all must have dreams, and most importantly, we must never give up on them. Just as important is to plant and nurture our dream seeds as well as to have faith and trust the process of seeing our harvest come true.

Therefore, as the big and beautiful harvest moon glows above in the autumn night sky, I encourage you to dream both big and small, but most importantly, just dream.

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Step-By-Step

the Santa Monica steps

the Santa Monica steps

“Great results cannot be achieved at once; and we must be satisfied to advance in life as we walk, step by step.”    – Samuel Smiles

Point to Ponder:
When you’re going through the day-to-day, do you lose sight of what you are working toward?

Action Item:
Keep your eye on the prize — identify a specific health, career or other personal goal you are working towards and stay motivated by visualizing what it will be like when you are successful.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

Santa Monica, California is one of my favorite vacations spots. Just outside of L.A., the breeze off the ocean creates an ideal temperature leaving the mornings and evenings cool and the daytime perfect. From the quaint restaurants, boutiques, and cottage-style homes to roses, hydrangeas and flowers galore, the charm of the city is simply “sweet.” One of my favorite spots within the city is the Santa Monica Steps. The steps number 154 (compare that to Mt. Bonnell’s 102), each old and worn down, yet used every day by thousands of inspiring exercisers of all ages, shapes, sizes and forms. Whether choosing to walk, jog, double step, double step with a leg lift, side step or match the pace of a motivational competitor, the experience is always grueling and entirely humbling. My heart rate spikes, and my legs burn as they turn to jello. I stay sore and walk weird for days after, but the view at the top—the infinite Pacific Ocean—makes the self-induced agony worthwhile.

Steps with a breathtaking view at the top—like our very own Mt. Bonnell—are analogous to the step-by-step journey of life and the treasure and infinite opportunities that await us when we make it to the top. The steps you’ll take on your life journeys are:

Step 1. Commit to the undeniable fact that morphing is essential and it’s time to “Take Flight”—continual growth and change is necessary.

Step 2. Believe in yourself and that anything is possible—every action is 90% mental and only 10% physical.

Step 3. Rid yourself of extra and unnecessary “weight,” i.e. negative thoughts, relationships, behaviors, and burdens you have no control over—no more ‘ought-to-haves,’ ‘should-haves,’ ‘maybe-wills,’ or ‘I-hope-tos.’

Step 4. Allow the team and community to support and encourage you. It’s the law of attraction: if you are open to receiving, they will come.

Step 5. Set your sight on your goals, begin moving up the steps and embrace your heart rate rising.

Step 6. Trust the shaky, nervous and discomforting feelings you have—this is when real change starts to occur.

Step 7. Be proud of yourself and acknowledge what a great job you are doing.

Step 8. Give someone a high five—be a support and encouragement to others.

Step 9. Keep taking steps and don’t give up on yourself.

Step 10. You’ve made it! You are alive, free and flying high! Nothing can stop you now!

This week, I encourage you to relax, put a smile on your face and be excited about the positive step-by-step journey you’ve embarked on!

If you still are unable to get excited, maybe this week’s video—featuring my favorite boy band and middle school crush—will inspire you to enjoy the step by step process of becoming a transformed woman. Even if the lyrics don’t inspire you, I am confident the hair styles or dance moves will—watch carefully, as there is a flash of a bicep curl!!

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FEED ME!

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily. — Zig Ziglar

Action: Make small changes to feed yourself regularly and abundantly with healthy food and exercise for your body and with positivity and inspiration for your spirit.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

I don’t know about you, but finding time to eat has NEVER been a problem of mine. I go to bed thinking about breakfast and wake up eager to eat. In fact, as soon as I finish one meal, I’ve already planned the next one. Then there’s my husband, Russell, who often comes home after work and tells me that he hasn’t eaten since breakfast because he FORGOT! SERIOUSLY?!?!? Forgot to eat!?…I’D NEVER!!! This must be one of those “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” examples.

Ironically, when we eat regularly throughout the day, we actually find ourselves hungrier than when we skip meals. This happens because our metabolism, our internal furnace, is constantly getting fed, staying on and wanting more. But, believe it or not, when eating fresh, clean and healthy foods more regularly, our metabolism stays elevated throughout the day and we actually have better energy and burn even more calories than if we had skipped meals.

The body is our temple and it will allow us to live safely, efficiently and enthusiastically. We can become a calorie-burning machine and have optimal energy to last throughout the day if we simply:

  1. Stay hydrated.
  2. Eat regularly (every three to four hours). Consume complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and lots and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. (See Journey XI, week 2, 3 and 4 for more information.)
  3. Exercise regularly (ideally 3-5 days per week)

In addition to keeping our bodies in optimal condition with a strong appetite for healthy food, having a well-fed mind and spirit is of equal importance too. We must have a consistently hearty appetite for goodness and positive information to keep both mind and spirit open and alive! You’ve heard the expression “You are what you eat.” It’s true for our minds and spirits too: “You are what you think.”

Friends, family, community and the company we keep play an enormous role in our ability to remain mentally and spiritually motivated, invigorated and charged. The more we practice and receive inspiration, the greater our appetite for it becomes. The result is a generously expanded life that we GET to live and share with others.

You can find inspiration in movies too. This week’s video is an inspiring moment from the movie The Pursuit of Happiness.